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Australian actress Millie Samuels on reaching local and global audiences across theatre and YouTube
For an outstanding and deeply committed actor like Millie Samuels, it's a necessary part of her career that she reaches different audiences, of different sizes, in any way that she can.

It's fitting therefore that we're interviewing her today to discuss her strong relationship with YouTube and how it compares to her significant body of theatre work.

The most notable example of Millie's high-profile relationship with the online streamer, is her leading character of Jessica in the webseries, Mychonny Moves In from Australian content creator Mychonny (AKA Jon Luc), who boasts over 2.3 million subscribers.

"It's awesome having that type of exposure," Millie said. Adding to the prestige of the experience was that Millie was directed by award-winning filmmaker Kate Woods, known in Australia for helming the classic award-winning film Looking for Alibrandi, and in the US for directing top shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Person of Interest, Once Upon a Time, Castle, Nashville and Bones.

"The list goes on with Kate – she's also directed Revenge, Rozzoli & Isles, Hawaii Five-O and NCIS: Los Angeles. An unbelievable director. Working with Kate was a pleasure -I was so excited to work with her, especially in an ongoing basis because my role was a series regular."

When asked about why her role of Jessica was so important to the series, Millie speaks with an assuredness and confidence that reinforces how she has genuinely reached the top echelon of international actors.

"if it wasn't for Jessica's quick thinking and pragmatic approach, Mychonny and his family would be in some serious strife," she adds.

The character also happens to be the Prime Minister's secretary, and therefore was the problem solver to the constant chaos in which Mychonny finds himself.

Millie elaborates. "She plays an integral role in the web series as she is often the "straight man" whilst the "comic" was played by the myriad of characters played by Jon Luc. It was this double act between Jessica and the rest of the cast that set up the jokes and heavily relied on actor's comic timing."

Millie's ability to balance authentic characterisation and absurdist parody caught producers' attention and led to her being cast in the series Girt By Fear, also released on YouTube and selected for the Melbourne Web Fest in 2017, along with the New York City Web Fest. That show was also of an absurdist comedic nature, solidifying Millie as an actor known for her range and full commitment to doing whatever is needed as an actor in order to serve the tone and aims of a project creator.

While the important role she has played YouTube's narrative content division can be measured with millions of subscribers, Millie's roles in the Australian theatre reflect how she doesn't let her high-profile from presenting honest performances within reach of a live audience.

In 2017, Millie played the lead role in Last One Standing Theatre Company's production of Dennis Kelly's DNA. The theatre company was founded by Disney actor Bardiya McKinnon, himself known for a critically acclaimed performance in The Incredible Here and Now under the direction of world-renowned director Wayne Harrison AM.

"I was fortunate to be involved in two productions for Last One Standing, as the production was handpicked to be in the 2018 season for another impressive venue at the King's Cross Theatre."

In this regard, Millie was undoubtedly the glue holding the show together, as the production recast other actors but kept her in the leading role, while also switching directors – the second time, under award-winning theatre-maker Claudia Barrie.

"My character of Leah takes a moral high ground and is the voice of reason in the story. The play consists of lengthy one-sided conversations (monologues) that required a strong actor to keep the play moving and the audience full engaged and full of suspense."

Many of the performances were sold out, and underscored the excellent reputation Millie has forged as a performer with range, humility and above all, integrity. Millie brought heightened emotional conviction to the role in DNA in a character experiencing deeply challenging circumstances internally and externally.

Such is the degree to which Millie is highly regarded by her peers, she was selected to judge the 2018 AACTA awards, Australia's highest honor celebrating the nation's best filmmakers.

"It was such a privilege…I had the luxury to view films that won Cannes Palm D'or 2018, Sydney Film Festival, St Kilda Film Festival, Palm Springs International Short Fest, Flickerfest, Sydney Film Festival Lexus Fellowship, Los Angeles Independent film Awards - the list goes on.  I was able to judge the work of some of Australia's best including actors like Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Hunter Page Lochard, Jack Thompson, Deborah Mailman, Nathaniel Dean."

It seems the only top actor she didn't judge was herself. "I don't think that would've been allowed," she laughs.

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